Planet Walmart: Five Big Facts About the World's Largest Company


Walmart (WMT) isn't just the world's biggest retailer -- It's the world's largest company, at least on the basis of sales. True, Apple (AAPL) has a greater market value (which keeps rising) than Walmart, and plenty of businesses are more profitable. But when it comes to revenue, no other company comes close to Walmart.

Walmart booked $416 billion in sales over the last 12 months. The next biggest company by revenue, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), would have to add another $85 billion just to pull into a tie. (Meanwhile, that's about two year's worth of sales from Apple.)

And yet the top-line numbers don't convey just how massive Walmart really is. To put the leviathan perspective, we've compiled some fun facts that help illustrate its heft:

1. Walmart Is Bigger Than Norway
If the retailer's $416 billion in revenue were gross domestic product, Walmart would be the 25th-largest national economy in the world -- bigger than Norway, Venezuela or the United Arab Emirates, to name just a few.

2. Walmart Takes Up a Lot Room
If you put all of Walmart's more than 8,500 far-flung stores in one place, they would take up more than 880 million square feet. That's the equivalent of 135 Pentagons, 158 Vatican Cities, 45 Monacos -- or half the country of Lichtenstein.

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3. Good Thing Walmart Doesn't Have an Army
If Walmart's 2.1 million full-time employees were an army, the retailer would have the second-largest active military in the world, just behind China (2.3 million). Not only would Walmart outnumber the U.S. military, it would have almost as many active-duty personnel as Russia and North Korea combined.

4. Walmart Is Into Infrastructure
Building out and maintaining a giant network of stores, and a distribution system to feed them, isn't cheap. In the last 12 months Walmart put $12 billion into capital expenditures. That's as much as the federal government has budgeted for education and infrastructure spending in California, the No.1 recipient, and more than the entire budget for the U.S. Commerce Department.

5. Walmart Could Drive to the Moon and Back (1,500 Times)
Walmart's nearly 8,000 drivers operate one of the largest trucking fleets in the world. They're expected to drive a total of 712 million miles this year. That's the same as driving around the world at the equator 28,600 times -- or nearly 1,500 round-trips to the moon.

Sources: Company filings, Capital IQ, International Monetary Fund, CIA World Factbook, U.S. Office of Management and Budget